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Building first computer: check my proposed specs post #9

RialeRiale Registered User
I need a new comp. In short, my current one is 5+ years old, is AGP and the motherboard should have died from overheating long ago. Unfortunately, this was my very first computer ever, and I don't know a heck of a lot about making/selecting a new one.

I know a bit about computers. Enough to know what basic parts go into them, and a little bit about the major manufacturers of said parts. However, I don't feel particularly confident enough to assemble one, or more importantly, choose parts that are compatible. I know that assembling it myself will get a much stronger PC for cheaper, but I'm not sure if it's worth the risk with my limited knowledge.

I'm not looking for anything fancy. What I'm running with now is so ridiculously old that pretty much anything will be a major upgrade. I'm a gamer, and I would like something that is capable of running recent FPSs and Action games, but I'm not looking to play Crysis or anything like that. The upper limit of my budget is $1k, but if at all possible I would like to keep it around $800.

What I'm wondering is, would it be worth it to buy a preassembled computer from one of the many gaming oriented stores online, rather than fumble through (and possibly fuck up) choosing parts for, and assembling my own? I'm in the middle of both school and job hunting right now, so time is definitely a factor for me. I don't want to get screwed over with a crappy prebuilt comp, but I can't afford to spend a billion hours researching parts and learning how to assemble the thing. Do you guys have any advice?

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Steam | XBL: Elazual | Last.fm
Riale on

Posts

  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Honestly, the pre-built machines are so cheap these days that building your own doesn't seem worth it unless you like the act itself of building it.

    Keep an eye on Slickdeals.net and Fatwallet.com. There's usually a constant stream of solid deals on pre-builts, but once or twice a month some awesome deal will pop up that's way cheaper than building your own. They'll also guide you on how to exploit every stackable coupon and discount around.

    Last March I bought my brother a Dell w/

    Core2 Quad Q6600 (Newegg today: $220)
    Foxconn G33M mobo ($85)
    1 GB PC5300 RAM ($19)
    250GB HDD ($60)
    24" LCD ($340)
    DVD burner ($24)
    Vista Home Premium ($95, $90 for XP Home)
    kb + m ($7)

    for ~$670 vs Newegg's $850 + case/PSU.
    Slapped on 2GB RAM ($25 after rebate) and a 9600GT ($120 after rebate), and he was good to go for $800.

    BubbaT on
  • SilvoculousSilvoculous Registered User
    edited May 2008
    BubbaT wrote: »
    Honestly, the pre-built machines are so cheap these days that building your own doesn't seem worth it unless you like the act itself of building it.

    This couldn't be more true. Have a look at the Dell Inspiron 530 for instance.

    $749 with instant savings gets you a 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad, 19-inch widescreen monitor, 2GB of RAM in dual-channel, and a 500GB hard drive. None of the configs come with any kind of decent videocard though, it's all Intel integrated. Still, for just under $800 you have the entire computer, at this point just browse around on Newegg and Slickdeals until you find an awesome enough videocard that's cheap.

    Silvoculous on
  • Macro9Macro9 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I will never suggest to someone who wants a gaming PC to buy a prebuilt one. That said if you don't want to deal with doing it then a prebuilt one may be your only choice. I would suggest you browse TigerDirect for bare bones kits though. They usually have decent deals.

    Macro9 on
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  • RialeRiale Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Macro9 wrote: »
    I will never suggest to someone who wants a gaming PC to buy a prebuilt one.

    Just curious, but outside of the price, why? My current comp is a really old Dell, and while it's not the most top end machine ever, it was fine for its time. The only part I would really say was bad was the power supply, and that's hardly a difficult replacement. Also, I'm not some super serious gamer. I enjoy it, but I don't need a perfect setup for it.

    Oh, and I thought I should mention I already have a really nice monitor/speakers/etc so I'm not interested in any bundle deals like that.

    Really, ideally, I would like to build it myself, but I don't feel confident enough to do it and I don't have money to waste making mistakes.

    Riale on
    33c9nxz.gif
    Steam | XBL: Elazual | Last.fm
  • Lucky CynicLucky Cynic Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    1 gig of ram!? What is this madness!?

    EDIT: Whoah shit! Riale, go ahead and buy today's woot, that is a fantastic price for a fucking fantastic mouse. Do it, seriously, I paid double for mine!

    Lucky Cynic on
  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?t=833862

    Nice deal if you don't need a monitor.

    Quad Q6600 (needed to get the 350w PSU which can support 8800gt, with a Duo you only get 300w)
    Vista Home Prem
    2GB PC5300 RAM - 2 DIMMs
    500GB hard drive
    16x DVD burner
    integrated graphics, sound, ethernet
    kb + m
    1 yr warranty

    $392 + $30 shipping


    add in 8800GT 512MB $145 after rebate (comes with Neverwinter Nights 2)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125088

    and 2GB RAM $14 after rebate

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146526

    +$10.50 shipping if you buy them together.

    Total: $592 + tax


    The bias against pre-built configs seems outdated unless you're need SLI or overclocking. These days most everyting on pre-builts is upgradeable and built on standard form factors. The days of every OEM using proprietary mainboards and PSUs are pretty much over.

    BubbaT on
  • StasisStasis Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I will always build my own computers, but if you do go the prebuilt route, check out the case first. Make sure it has plenty of ventilation. A few years ago I had a Dell (it was a freaky deal, so I got it instead of building one. :P) and I put a Radeon X700 in it and the thing overheated constantly. On a warm day, not even doing anything intensive on the card, it would overheat. I bought a big aftermarket fan and heatsink and it still overheated in that case. I had to keep the side cover off of the computer and a box fan blowing into it at all times.

    I stress: Make sure your case has plenty of ventilation. Basically, watch out that the side cover has a nice big vent on it.

    Stasis on
  • RialeRiale Registered User
    edited June 2008
    So after talking to people on other forums and weighing my options I've decided to build my own. I've searched around pretty thoroughly on newegg and I think I've got all the parts picked out. If anyone has recommendations they're certainly welcome.

    Case: Antec Performance One P180 Silver cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower

    Mobo: ASUS P5N-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX

    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W

    GFX Card: EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16

    RAM: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s

    Disc Drive: ASUS Black 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM

    PSU: SeaSonic S12 II SS-500GB ATX12V / EPS12V 500W

    OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit English

    My only concern is with the case, card, and PSU location. The 8800gt is a really big card and I'm worried it might be difficult to thread the power to the mobo and drives around that thing. However, I couldn't find any cases that were cheap and well ventilated with a top PSU bay. I also briefly considered this case. Someone I know is using that case with an 8800gt, so I know it would technically fit. The airflow seems really great for the price, but LEDs annoy me, the front USB ports are in a bad location for me, and the front drive bay screens being mesh makes it a huuuuge dust magnet.

    All in all it's a little more than I originally planned to spend, but it seems like it's worth the money to get stuff a little better and not have to upgrade as much down the line. I went for reasonably good stuff that wasn't bleeding edge overpriced and would hopefully do me for a good long while.

    Riale on
    33c9nxz.gif
    Steam | XBL: Elazual | Last.fm
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If it's any help I have an 8800GTS in a Sonata III case. It's a nice case. I would suggest you look at an 8800GTS with 512MB of RAM for your graphics card. It's slightly newer. And 4GB is too much for a 32 bit OS, which can only address ~3. 2 gigs is fine anyways.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I'd go with Vista 64-bit since you have 4GB of memory. You're paying for it, might as well use it.

    Also the 7200.11 version Seagate HDD over the 7200.10, the .11 is both quieter and faster.

    I'd check out the BYOPC pricing thread at slickdeals. Newegg is certainly a great retailer, but you might be able to save a few bucks somewhere else too.

    http://forums.slickdeals.net/showpost.php?p=7704554&postcount=2

    BubbaT on
  • powersurgepowersurge Registered User
    edited June 2008
    IMO I'd go for a quad (Q6600 for example) over the dual core CPU. It may not give you a huge benefit (small drop in clock speed) right now but in a year you may be wishing you had of. When I bought my first dual core cpu nothing used it but a year or so after that everything took advantage of it. Already games like Supreme Commander are starting to take advantage of 4 cores.


    Also on the harddrive for about $30-40 more you can get a WD 640gb drive:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    Supposedly one of the fastest SATA drives atm. (At least thats what the reviewers were saying when I got one a couple months back /shrug)

    Also if you ever decide you want to take advantage of more ram you will need a 64bit OS and last I heard the Vista Home 32bit OEM keys don't allow you to mail in for a 64 bit disc like the retail editions do. So you might want to go ahead and either spring for the retail version (so you have both the 32bit and 64bit option) or dive into Vista 64bit with a OEM copy.

    I've been running Vista 64bit for a few months now and so far I haven't run into any 64 bit related issues. Even my cheapie all in one Epson printer has 64 bit drivers.

    powersurge on
  • RialeRiale Registered User
    edited June 2008
    If it's any help I have an 8800GTS in a Sonata III case. It's a nice case. I would suggest you look at an 8800GTS with 512MB of RAM for your graphics card. It's slightly newer.

    The sonata III is really nice from an aesthetics standpoint, but the price and lack of fans really knocks it down a notch in my eyes. Especially because the reviews for the GTS remark it as running really hot, I'd rather have a case with more ventilation options. Unfortunately, it seems like most cases with 2/4 fans have bottom psu bays.
    And 4GB is too much for a 32 bit OS, which can only address ~3. 2 gigs is fine anyways.

    Yes, I know. 32bit vs 64bit Vista is something I wrestled with for a very long time. On one hand, I want this PC to be relatively future-proof. On the other hand, Vista 64 is incompatible with a LOT of my current stuff, and I don't have the resources to run a second comp. I play a lot of older games in addition to my new stuff, and the lack of support for all that jazz makes me shy away. Not to mention the issues with finding 64bit drivers.

    I know it doesn't use the entire 4gb, but there are plenty of games out there currently that 2gb just isn't enough for (The Witcher comes to mind). Seeing as the price difference between a good set of 1gb and a good set of 2gb is only ~$30 or so, it makes more sense in my mind to go with the 4GB even on a 32bit OS, just to get that extra bit of performance. I know someone who does this and it really makes a difference for them.
    Also the 7200.11 version Seagate HDD over the 7200.10, the .11 is both quieter and faster.

    I checked it out and it didn't seem all that much faster. Also, the model I looked at on Newegg had a large amount of reviews claiming DoA drives and drives that were corrupt in a week or less. That makes me a little leery.


    EDIT: I thought about quad cores, but from what I saw out there, I would either have to take a significant downgrade in clock speed or a pretty big price hike. It doesn't seem worth it for something that is not really utilized right now. Sure, it may be in the future, but I don't think that dual core cpus are going to become obsolete any time soon. i have the same sentiments about using SLI or Crossfire right now.

    Riale on
    33c9nxz.gif
    Steam | XBL: Elazual | Last.fm
  • MayGodHaveMercyMayGodHaveMercy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Posting this again, because it's what I like to do.

    When you buy a prebuilt computer from a big name manufacturer, please keep in mind that they use shitty built-for-them motherboards that seem to always have something in the way that will keep you from installing a big video card (eg: eVGA 8800GTS 512). Sure, the prebuilt ones are cheap nowadays, but you still have to spend an extra $200+ on a decent video card. Just do it from the ground up. It's probably not going to be less money, but I doubt it will be more.

    MayGodHaveMercy on
    XBL: Mercy XXVI - Steam: Mercy_XXVI - PSN: Mercy XXVI
  • RialeRiale Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Yep, I went ahead and bought a very slightly modified version of what I have up there just a few minutes ago, so building it is. I ended up going for a western digital drive after reading some reviews on that seagate recently complaining of DoAs and quick drive failures. I also decided to go for vista 64, after I searched and found that amazingly all of my hardware has 64bit drivers. Can't wait to put it all together!

    Riale on
    33c9nxz.gif
    Steam | XBL: Elazual | Last.fm
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited June 2008
This discussion has been closed.